VIDEO: Turkish airstrikes in Kurdistan Region strike near villages, resort
ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Turkish warplanes bombed several areas over its southern border into the Kurdistan Region on Thursday, targetting purported positions of the Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK) and causing, according to one local official, one death and five civilian injuries. Additional reports of fatalities among PKK fighters and other civilian casualties have not yet been verified.
The attacks also caused major fires in the mountainous terrain and widespread panic among residents of some 20 villages.
Local sources told Kurdistan 24 that the airstrike started in the early hours of Thursday morning, targeting the Bradost sub-district in northern Erbil province, striking areas around Mount Zararan, where most of the fires spread.
They also mentioned that the 20 villages in Bradost are in chaos due to the continued bombing, with concerns of displacements if the airstrikes continue, as “the residents hear the buzzing of planes flying over the area continuously throughout the day. Furthermore, 115 villages in the border area have already been evacuated previously.
On Thursday afternoon Turkey conducted two more airstrikes in both Sidakan areas in Erbil’s Soran district and Kuna-Massi tourist attraction in Sharbazher district in Sulaimani province.
"It killed one man who was in the car," local official Kameran Abdallah told Reuters," but gave no further information on the victim. He added, "The six wounded consisted of two women, two children and two men, all members of the same family."
A video being shared on social media allegedly shows parents playing with very young children in a pond next to a residence when a rocket suddenly appears to strike very close by. Another, below, shows the aftermath of bombardment at a nearby resort area.
Shaho Osman, the mayor of Sharbazher district, confirmed to Kurdistan 24 that airstrikes did take place, but that the finale tally of its victims remains unknown.
Turkey has intensified its air and artillery shelling of border areas within the Kurdistan Region since the beginning of this week.
Turkish attacks on Friday killed at least four Kurdish residents.
The PKK is engaged in a decades-long insurgency against Turkey over Kurdish rights and self-rule that has resulted in the death of over 40,000 people on both sides. The group is headquartered in the Kurdistan Region's Zagros Mountains, along the Turkish and Iranian borders.
In recent years, Turkey has carried out military operations against PKK fighters based in the Kurdistan Region with continued regularity, with troops sometimes crossing into the region up to 20 kilometers deep to target the guerilla group.
During its bombings, Ankara has killed dozens of civilians unaffiliated to the PKK and has caused extensive damage to residences, farms, and killed locals’ livestock.
Residents of such areas, as well as the KRG, have long called on the Turkish military and the PKK to take their fighting elsewhere.
The European Union, in its 2020 annual Europol “Terrorism Situation and Trend Report,” stated on Tuesday that Europe continues to be used by the PKK as a base to support its activities elsewhere.
Editing by John J. Catherine